The Tualatin senior sets a new state meet standard with her winning height of 12-8

by: DAN BROOD - Tualatin High School senior Laura Taylor soars over the bar during Friday's girls pole vault competition at the Class 6A state track and field championships held at Hayward Field in Eugene.EUGENE — Laura Taylor came to the Class 6A state track and field championships looking to get another title and a record to go along with it.

By the smile on her face, it's easy to tell — she got both.

Taylor, a Tualatin High School senior, repeated as the Class 6A state girls pole vault champion by triumphing in that event with a new meet record of 12 feet, 8 inches during action Friday at the state championships held at Hayward Field.

“This means a lot to me,” Taylor said after receiving her championship medal. “I'm so happy to be a two-time state champion and to get the meet record. That's more than I could ever ask for.”

Taylor, who won the state title last year with a mark of 11-9, cruised through the early part of Friday's girls pole vault event.

She entered the competition with the bar set at 11-3 and easily sailed over that height on her first attempt.

That left her alone with Lake Oswego's Tory Edwards and Marissa Taylor as the only jumpers left with the bar moving up to 11-6. The Laker duo missed on that height, leaving Laura Taylor, who pass on that height, as the state champion.

But she wasn't nearly done left.

She cleared 11-9 and 12-4 on her first tries at each of those heights.

From there, she had the bar moved to 12-8 — and this was the vault she was waiting for.

For Taylor, a successful clearance at that height would break her own personal best, which was 12-7, break the Tualatin school record, again 12-7, and it would better South Eugene's Lindsey Beard's Class 6A meet record of 12-7.

It didn't take Taylor long to break all of those records, as she cleared 12-8 on her first try.

“I don't really remember it, but it felt good,” Taylor said of her record-breaking vault. “It was a technique thing, so I really focused on what I needed to do.”

After her record-breaking vault, Taylor quickly took aim at another record — the all-time state record of 13-0, set by Sarah Sasaki of North Clackamas Christian in 1999.

Taylor came close, but missed, on her first attempt at 13-0.25. She missed again on her second try and, making thing worse, she suffered a sprained left ankle on that attempt.

“I considered not trying again, but it was just one more vault,” she said.

And, on that last vault, she almost pulled off a dramatic feat, as she just missed clearing the bar, sprained ankle and all.

But, still, her smile shined bright.

“I was relaxed,” she said “I just relaxed and executed — that's all there is to it.”

In addition to her victory in the pole vault, Taylor also finished in 11th place in Friday's Class 6A girls long jump competition.

To read more about Taylor's record-breaking performance, and for complete state track coverage for Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, Horizon Christian and Westside Christian, see the May 29 issue of the Tigard/Tualatin Times.

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